Weston McKennie has opened up on the special relationship he has with fellow United States Men's National Team star Tyler Adams.
The duo have long held down the USMNT's midfield and are at the head of an exciting crop of young talent looking to lead the Stars and Stripes to untold international success.
Speaking ahead of Friday's friendly against Japan in Dusseldorf, McKennie explained the understanding he's formed with Adams over the years, helped by the two playing together as teenagers at youth level.
“One of the things, as far as me and Tyler, have learned about each other is that he does all the running and I do all the playing. No, I’m just kidding!” McKennie joked to reporters. “But I think just us being together for as long as we have and knowing each other for so long, we've, I think, developed a relationship that we know each other's tendencies, we know each other's abilities, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses and how to cover for one another.
“Many of the guys that are coming in that may have not been with the group so long, we've played with them or against them at some point in our lives, in our careers. Say for instance, Luca de la Torre, [who] maybe came on a little bit later into the national team, me and Tyler have been playing with him since we were 14, 15 years old. So I think whoever comes in, we have some sort of familiarity with each player.”
While McKennie and Adams are key to the USMNT's future hopes, they cannot do it alone. Luckily, the US have an incredible crop of young talent emerging right now, with the likes of Gio Reyna and Brenden Aaronson developing at a rapid rate to compliment exisiting stars like McKennie, Adams, and Christian Pulisic.
According to Adams, that 'depth' is breeding healthy competitive rivalries, while allowing head coach Gregg Berhalter the chance to experiment with his line-ups safe in the knowledge that the next guy up is of the standard required in international soccer.
“One of the keys to our team is our depth. You already see, based off of the players that are here, all of them can play at any given moment, they can really offer something different,” said the midfielder. “We have a system, and although, yeah, we have individual quality all over the field and [roster spots] one through 26, there's all different types of qualities, when you come into the system, you have to know your role and you have to know your job on the day and for who we’re playing against.”
Following Friday's clash with Japan, the USMNT travel down to Spain to face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.